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Spiced Sardine Fillets with Moroccan Relish and Jewelled Quinoa

Spiced Sardine Fillets with Moroccan Relish and Jewelled Quinoa

“This blazing feast of a dish shouts out that summer’s coming, or that it’ll come one day at least! The relish lights up the sardines and makes the quinoa sing, this combination works with everything from chicken to cheese to crab…”

By Merchant Gourmet Cook, Alex Mackay

  • Serves 2

  • 20 minutes

  • 3 pans

  • Proficient

Suitable for gluten-free

Quinoa Red & White


  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 tbsp orange juice (from a carton is fine)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp ras-el-hanout, plus a little for seasoning the sardines
  • Grated zest and juice (4 tablespoons) of 1 medium lemon (remove the zest before cutting the lemon)
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 x pouch 250g Merchant Gourmet Simply Cooked red and white quinoa
  • 2 tbsp de-shelled pistachio nuts (optional)
  • 10 ready to eat dried apricots, cut into cubes
  • The seeds from half a small pomegranate
  • 8 sardine filets, either 2 double filets as I did in the photo per person or 4 individual filets per person
  • 3 tbsp sliced mint
  • Salt, cayenne pepper and caster sugar


Prep Ahead – The quinoa and the relish can easily be prepared a day ahead, up to the point of adding the pomegranate and the mint.

1. Preheat your oven to 220c / Position upper middle shelf

2. First, make the relish. Get a small saucepan. Add the orange juice, honey, 1/2 tsp ras-el-hanout, and half the lemon juice, chilli and ginger. Bring to the boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes until the liquid has reduced by 1/3, becoming sticky and just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add the lemon zest and the remaining juice, pistachio nuts and dried apricots

3. Next, warm the quinoa in the microwave according to the instructions on the pouch. Tip it into a bowl and break up the grains with a fork

4. Add the pomegranate seeds and the mint to the relish. Season with salt, cayenne pepper and a touch of sugar to balance the lemon

5. Mix one third of this relish with the quinoa, and season to taste

6. Get a baking tray and line it with greaseproof paper. Put the sardine filets on top. Season the fish on both sides with salt and ras-el-hanout (use this as you would pepper)

7. Bake for 3-4 minutes until the sardines are just cooked through. Serve with the quinoa and the relish

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